ACA – It appears that much of the bluff and bluster from opponents of Obamacare is just that. The world won’t come to an end because hundreds more American families gain access to medical care. Unfortunately, another major piece of the act remains unavailable in Kansas. Our state legislators have not taken the step of expanding Medicaid to cover low-income Kansans who remain uninsured – too poor to buy through the exchange. It is wrong to leave people out in the cold simply because they don’t earn enough.
At least one elected officeholder in Kansas is showing enough backbone to stop being a politician and do what is right for the people of Kansas: Insurance Commissioner Sandy Praeger. Despite intense resistance from Gov. Sam Brownback’s administration, the bulk of the Kansas Legislature and Kansas’ U.S. congressional delegation, Praeger has dispatched her office’s employees throughout the state to educate people about the upcoming enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act. It is refreshing to see an elected leader dismiss party politics to do right by Kansans.
Picking judges – The two-day special session of the Legislature featured the rubber-stamping of a politically inspired appointment to the Kansas Court of Appeals. Now some lawmakers say they want to choose state Supreme Court justices by using the same political litmus test. That would be the wrong way to go, and the Legislature in 2014 should not expand its flawed selection process.
Kansas City Star
Suspended voters – One issue that didn’t garner much attention from legislators during the special session was the effort by some Wichita lawmakers to deal with problems related to a new law requiring people to prove they are U.S. citizens when registering to vote in Kansas for the first time. The more than 16,000 voter-registration forms currently on hold and awaiting proof-of-citizenship documentation seem to confirm this law is not in working order and should be of continuing concern to lawmakers and other Kansas residents.
Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach said at least five illegal immigrants had voted in Kansas elections from 2006 to 2012. The votes cast by five illegal immigrants during a six-year period are a legitimate concern, but they pale in comparison with the thousands of Kansans who aren’t allowed to vote in state or local elections because – while they meet federal requirements to vote in national elections – they aren’t in compliance with the state’s voter-registration law.
Arts – Supporters of the arts in the Sunflower State were pleased to hear the National Endowment for the Arts will provide matching funding of $560,000 to the Kansas Creative Arts Industries Commission. It was indeed good to see a positive development on the arts front, considering the attack on those endeavors from Republican Gov. Sam Brownback and his ultraconservative allies. With a 2011 veto of the Kansas Arts Commission’s entire $689,000 budget, Brownback made the state the focus of unwanted attention nationwide, as Kansas became the first state intent on eliminating arts funding. Brownback, who believed private contributions could make up the difference, failed to acknowledge that scrapping the arts budget would be most painful in rural parts of Kansas that already have fewer arts options.
Garden City Telegram